Why not put your rose out of joint?

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There’s no need to fly a bouquet of sad roses a thousand miles for Valentine’s Day this year, says flower farmer Charlotte Tombs

Both images show UK-grown Valentine’s Day bouquets. Flowers and images by Katie Priestly of Dorset Flower Co

Not all cultures around the world celebrate St Valentine’s Day (obviously), but for those that do, why do it with the gift of roses – and why red?
Red can be seen everywhere in nature, from a holly berry to a red snapper fish. Of course it signals danger, but in western countries red is also a symbol of martyrs and sacrifice, particularly because of its association with blood. Red is the colour most commonly associated with heat, activity, passion, sexuality, anger, love and joy – quite a powerful colour all in all!
Roses have been on Earth for 30 million years. When questioned, 90 per cent of people, regardless of their nationality, will answer “rose” as their favourite flower. Civilisations from the ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians to the present day have shown a passion for the rose, thanks to its transient beauty, its colour and of course its scent.
Since the 1940s it’s easy to see why roses and carnations have led florists’ sales as we Brits give red roses on Valentine’s Day to our sweethearts. But prior to Second World War, British florists mostly sold violets in heart shaped boxes. These were grown in Victorian greenhouses and conservatories because of the season; mid-winter is simply not great for growing flowers in the UK – unless you want a bunch of daffodils or snowdrops!

International Valentine’s
The Germans exchange pigs. No, not real ones! Cute cartoon ones on cards or keepsakes.
Pigs are considered good luck bringers (Glücksbringer) in Germany and are as common at this time of year as seeing Cupid is in the USA.
The sensible Finnish celebrate Friends Day instead, choosing to honour both friends and significant others.
In Japan, it’s the women’s turn to give gifts to men in the form of a homemade chocolate honmei choco (true-feeling chocolate). Men return the gesture on the 14th March by giving white chocolate and white gifts as a sign of their affection.
Historically the French celebrated Valentine’s Day with une loterie d’amour. Single French men and women would shout in the streets until they were paired off. The man then had the option to ditch the woman. The left-over women would naturally then get together and vent their anger by lighting a huge fire (so French!) and burning images of the men who had abandoned them.
This event could get out of hand and the French government eventually had to ban it. A woman scorned and all that …

Flowers and images by Katie Priestly of Dorset Flower Co

Say NO to roses in February
Regular readers know there is no need to buy imported roses (or any flowers). They are quite literally costing the earth.
Flowers from the Farm has a clever search bar that will direct you to a grower in your area who will be able to send flowers. You can support a small business, help the planet and make all involved happy – what’s not to love?
The brilliant Dorset Flower Co based near Dorchester and Eveline’s Flowers based in Sturminster Newton are both Members of Flowers From the Farm. Go on – make someone do a happy dance!

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre

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